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平機廿五 — 回顧與前瞻

2021/5/18 — 16:36

朱敏健

朱敏健

2021 年 5 月 20 日,是平等機會委員會成立廿五周年的日子。

平機會的抱負是建設一個沒有歧視、崇尚多元、包容共濟的社會,我們一直推動切實而有意義的轉變。廿五年來,我們看到反歧視文化逐漸植根於香港,現時各區已有更多的無障礙設施,社會各界亦更積極推行共融平等的政策及措施;無論從硬件或軟件看來,當年通過反歧視條例的目標都有實質而健康的進展。

我期望並且相信,當平機會慶祝三十周年紀念的時候,我們會見到更多顯著的進步,每個人不論性別、殘疾、家庭崗位、種族或其他狀況,都受到更完備的反歧視法例保障,在各個範疇免受歧視及騷擾。

廣告

能通達出行,應是每個人的基本權利。2010 年,平機會公布一份正式調查報告,顯示政府部門、房屋委員會及其他政府機構擁有或管理的 60 個處所的暢通易達程度。調查發現這些處所缺乏無障礙通道及設施,對殘疾人士造成明顯不利。調查報告發表後,政府在極短時間內正面回應,並耗資 13 億港元進行改裝工程,涵蓋 3,500 個處所及設施。

除了推動無障礙通道及設施,及推行共融公共政策之外,平機會亦一直大力提倡法律改革以完善反歧視法例。我們在進行全面的歧視條例檢討後,於 2016 年向政府提出超過 70 項修例建議,並取得令人鼓舞的結果。立法會於去年 6 月一致通過政府提交的條例草案,落實平機會提出的其中八項建議,而其他建議的跟進工作亦已經展開。

廣告

法律改革可為市民的日常生活帶來深遠的正面影響。例如,《性別歧視條例》的最新修訂由今年 6 月 19 日開始生效,若餵哺母乳的婦女在僱傭、使用設施、獲取貨品及服務方面,以及法例訂明的其他公共生活範疇遭受歧視和騷擾,可循法律途徑申訴。

事實上,平機會亦一直推展我們的服務,以應對日益增多而且迫切的歧視問題。平機會於 2015 年成立少數族裔事務組,投放資源專注促進香港非華裔社群的平等機會。少數族裔事務組為教師、醫護人員、物業代理及僱主等不同持份者舉辦文化敏感度培訓,以確保種族共融文化能夠植根於教育、就業、住屋和提供貨品、服務及設施等方面。平機會於 2018 年推出《種族多元共融僱主約章》,以推廣種族共融工作間的良好常規,至今已有 170 間機構簽署支持。平機會亦發布了多份報告,就教育局如何加強對非華語學生的支援提出建議。為這些學生提供公平的教育環境和平等機會發揮所長,對他們的個人發展及香港的未來都大有裨益。

平機會一直創新求變,務求為香港市民提供更佳服務。經 2017 年至 2018 年聽取多個民間團體的意見,並就投訴處理程序進行檢討後,平機會採取「以受害人為本」的工作方針,實施多項改善措施,例如簡化個案分類及委派個案主任的程序,以期減低投訴人向平機會職員憶述受屈經過時的困擾。為了進一步保障受害人的權益,我們認為必須協調平機會兩個執法部門的工作,即投訴服務科及法律事務科。因此,平機會於 2020 年設立新職位,更有效地掌管這兩個部門。

此外,平機會去年增設另一個事務組,專責打擊本港的性騷擾。平機會過往曾進行多項有關在教育界、體育界及宗教界性騷擾情況的研究,也舉辦了有關預防性騷擾的講座和工作坊。當中最值得關注的是 2020 年有關香港的體育總會的研究。研究結果顯示,90% 體育總會已制定書面反性騷擾政策及/或教練和導師行為守則,比率遠高於 2018 年的 35%。儘管如此,我們看到不同界別的性騷擾受害人可能延遲或不願意舉報性騷擾,而且《性別歧視條例》的保障可能不足以處理若干性騷擾情況。平機會成立反性騷擾事務組的目的,就是要處理這些問題。該組設有熱線,提供相關法律的資料、作出投訴及討回公道的方法,並在有需要時轉介至輔導及治療服務,另外還負責全面檢討現時與性騷擾相關的法例。

儘管平機會過去克服了不少挑戰及困難,但我們明白在現今社會對立分化的情況越趨嚴峻、部份市民對公共機構的信心有減弱的情況下,我們履行消除歧視的使命時只會面對更大考驗。

平機會偶爾遭受不同政治團體無理攻擊,質疑我們處事不公、欠缺專業。我希望藉此機會保證,平機會過往一直以獨立機構身分盡力捍衞大眾的平等權利,今後也會繼續為此發聲。事實勝於雄辯。在 2019 冠狀病毒病疫情期間,我們指出官方防疫資訊的少數族裔語言翻譯版本普遍延誤發放,內容也有欠準確;少數族裔接受檢疫期間,我們提出有關方面為遵守齋戒月的穆斯林安排膳食時缺乏文化敏感度;最近,我們促請政府及僱主切勿一刀切要求所有僱員接種疫苗,因為孕婦和有某些疾病的人士未必適合接種疫苗,施加規定可能使他們承受負面影響。

我相信疫情過後,平機會須處理更多工作,例如打破女性面對的無形枷鎖,消除精神病的負面標籤,以至協助非華語學生由求學階段更順利過渡至工作。平機會也致力倡議政府擴大反歧視條例的受保障特徵,使新來港人士、性小眾及其他弱勢群體遭受不當歧視時,可以循法律途徑討回公道。

為了令香港的社會變得更美好,各界必須大力支持平等機會的理念。平機會去年 11 月首次推出「平等機會僱主嘉許計劃」,收到 420 份申請。剛剛在幾日前,我們舉行了頒獎禮,向其中 14 間得獎機構頒發「平等機會僱主金獎」。他們都是在工作間為推廣性別平等,為殘疾人士、有家庭責任人士及少數族裔推廣平等機會方面成就卓越。另外,還有十間中小企出席頒獎禮接受傑出中小企業獎項。

經過 25 年的開拓和發展,平機會在未來的日子,依然會貫徹始終,既積極又專業、既盡責又公正。我們期望在追求公正公平之路上,與社會大眾一起建立平等共融的社會。


The Equal Opportunities Commission was established in 1996 with the vision to create a pluralistic and inclusive society free from discrimination.

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, allow me to invite you on a walk down memory lane this morning to reflect on some of the milestones in the EOC’s history.

When it comes to promoting equal opportunities, the EOC has always walked the talk, going beyond finger-pointing to make tangible and meaningful change. In 2010, we released the report of a formal investigation into the accessibility of 60 premises owned or managed by Government departments and the Housing Authority, among other bodies. The investigation revealed a lack of barrier-free access to these premises, which put people with disabilities at a clear disadvantage. This eventually led the Government to roll out a HK$1.3-billion retrofitting programme covering 3,500 premises and facilities.

Besides paving the way for more inclusive public policies, the EOC has been a vocal advocate of law reform, as prevailing trends of discrimination and harassment continue to unveil gaps in the legislation. In 2016, we submitted over 70 recommendations to the Government based on a comprehensive review of the anti-discrimination ordinances. The outcome has been highly encouraging: the Government’s bill to implement eight of our recommended amendments was passed unanimously by the Legislative Council in June last year, and follow-up work on the remaining recommendations is already underway.

Such legislative developments can carry a significant and positive impact on the everyday life of Hongkongers. For instance, thanks to amendments to the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, effective from the 19th of June this year, legal redress will be available for women who face breastfeeding discrimination and harassment in the course of employment, using facilities, receiving goods and services, and in other areas of public life specified by the law.

In fact, the EOC itself has also been evolving to address an ever-expanding range of pressing issues relating to discrimination. In 2015, we set up our Ethnic Minorities Unit to devote dedicated resources to advancing equal opportunity for non-Chinese communities in Hong Kong. From school teachers and healthcare workers to estate agents and business owners, the Unit delivers cultural sensitivity training to a variety of stakeholders to ensure that a racially inclusive culture can take root in education, employment, housing and the provision of goods, services and facilities. In particular, the Racial Diversity and Inclusion Charter for Employers, launched by the Unit in 2018 to promote best practices, now boasts 170 signatories. We have also published a series of reports on how the Education Bureau can enhance its support for non-Chinese-speaking students, who deserve a level playing field and an equal chance to fully realise their potential, both for their development and the future of our city.

Indeed, the EOC has never stopped improving and reinventing itself to better serve the local community. Following consultation with a wide spectrum of civil society groups and a review of our complaint-handling procedure between 2017 and 2018, the EOC put in place a victim-centric approach and a series of enhancement measures, such as streamlining case classification and the assignment of officers, so as to minimise the distress complainants may feel when recounting their experience to us. To further safeguard victims’ interests, we found it pivotal to synergise the work of our two law enforcement divisions, namely the Complaint Services Division and Legal Service Division. We therefore established a new position in 2020 to oversee both divisions.  

Meanwhile, this year saw the birth of another new unit in the EOC, dedicated to combatting sexual harassment in Hong Kong. In the past, the EOC has conducted multiple surveys about sexual harassment in education, sports and religious organisations, while hosting seminars and workshops to facilitate the adoption of preventive measures. Notably, our research in 2020 on National Sports Organisations in Hong Kong found that 90% of them had developed a written anti-sexual harassment policy and/or code of conduct for coaches and instructors, up from 35% in 2018. Yet, it has also become obvious across different sectors that there may be delayed or under-reporting among victims, and that the Sex Discrimination Ordinance may not be adequately equipped to address certain scenarios of sexual harassment. The new Unit was created to tackle precisely these problems. It operates a hotline to provide information on relevant laws, advice on where to lodge complaints and seek redress, as well as referral to counselling and therapy services when needed. It has also been tasked with a holistic review of the current legal regime.

Milestones aside, the EOC is aware that our mission to eliminate discrimination has become an increasingly daunting challenge amid the intensifying polarisation of society and the general decline of trust in public institutions.

Every now and then, our impartiality and professionalism have come under unwarranted attacks from across the political spectrum. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure our listeners that the EOC has and will always be an independent and vocal defender of the right to equality. The facts speak for themselves. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the EOC has called out inaccuracies and delays in translation of official information into languages commonly spoken by ethnic minority members of our society. We have spoken up against culturally insensitive food arrangements for halal-observing Muslims placed under quarantine. Just recently, we urged the Government and employers to be careful not to impose blanket vaccination orders, since they are likely to have a disproportionately negative impact on pregnant women and people with certain pre-existing illnesses who are not suited for vaccination.

Looking beyond the pandemic, we believe a lot more remains to be done – from shattering the glass ceiling facing women and destigmatising mental health issues to helping non-Chinese-speaking students make a better transition from school to work. The EOC is also committed to advocating to the Government to expand the list of protected characteristics under the anti-discrimination law, so that new immigrants, LGBT people and other vulnerable communities can seek legal redress when subjected to undue discrimination.

This hope for further progress, this roadmap of change – it will never be realised without support from all in society. I do believe that a spirit of solidarity and collaboration has always been here in Hong Kong: when the EOC launched the inaugural edition of its Equal Opportunity Employer Recognition Scheme last year, over 400 organisations applied. And just two days ago, we held a ceremony to present awards to 14 of them, who demonstrated a track record of promoting equal opportunities for women and men, people with disabilities, people with family responsibilities, as well as ethnic minorities in the workplace. 10 SMEs also won recognition at the ceremony.

As the EOC turns 25 years old, I earnestly wish that you will see us for what we are – passionate but professional, committed but impartial. On that note, we look forward to making more milestones with you on our quest for a just and equal Hong Kong.

發表意見